Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Polling Survey in Iraqi Kurdistan

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This report presents a summary of the findings of the first election polling survey for parliamentary and presidential elections in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The research was undertaken in November 2015 in the provinces of Erbil, Duhok and Sulaymaniyah. The polling conducted focused on the probable turnout and voters’ preferences in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, the dates of which are still undecided.

This polling survey does not seek to provide a definitive result of election outcomes. Polling surveys, such as this one, conducted in the early stages of an election season should therefore be considered as a snapshot in time that cannot take into account future events that may affect voting behaviour in various ways.

However, polling is a useful tool to gauge political tendencies and public opinion. As one of the KKC’s core missions is to advance Kurdish democracy and civic society, this polling survey’s principal aim is to engage with Kurdish public opinion.

Key Findings

• The percentage of undecided voters for the parliamentary elections has increased to 46.8%.

• Since 2013, KDP, KIU and KIG’s percentage of voting intentions has decreased.

• Since 2013, independent candidates, other parties, PUK and Change’s percentage of voting intentions has increased.

• At the present moment, KDP (28.9%) is leading the parliamentary election polls, followed by Change (25.8%) and PUK (24.4%).

• At the present moment, B. Salih (55.7%) is leading the presidential election polls, followed by M. Barzani (38.2%).

Survey of Kurdish Public Opinion

• The considerable percentage of undecided voters for the parliamentary elections indicates that the electorate is increasingly dissatisfied. In addition, the current results of both elections suggests a growing sense of disillusionment towards the current management of political, economic, social and international affairs.

• The increase in votes for independent candidates and other small parties in the parliamentary elections points towards a desire for change and new political figures. This also reflects lassitude and distrust regarding the current situation, which correlates with the large amount of undecided voters.

• There are clear indications of shifting voting behaviour patterns. Some parties are loosing votes in their usual strongholds, while other parties are gaining votes outside their strongholds. Simultaneously, independent candidates are gaining votes.

• The results of the presidential election polls show a small percentage of undecided voters. This indicates that the electorate wants an end to the current presidential crisis by engaging in the election process and having their voices heard.

Summary

The findings in this report reflect current public opinion at the early stages of the election process and many events can still affect and change voting tendencies. Moreover, the shifting voting preferences as well as the large percentage of undecided voters in the parliamentary elections are indicative of competitive and unpredictable elections to come.

The changing voting patterns and preferences suggest that part of the electorate is gradually breaking away from traditional party affiliations, and that public opinion is very susceptible to change, especially amongst the youth.

List of Abbreviations

KDP – Kurdistan Democratic Party
PUK – Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
KIU – Kurdistan Islamic Union
KIG – Kurdistan Islamic Group

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